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Summary: How God Uses People.

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THE MIRACLE OF LEFTOVERS

MATT. 15: 34-37; 2 COR. 5:17

I. INTRODUCTION

ALL OF US ARE FAMILIAR WITH LEFTOVERS. YES, LEFTOVERS, THAT WHICH IS PREPARED, THEN USED, AND THAT WHICH REMAINS IS EITHER SAVED OR DISCARDED. LEFTOVERS COME IN VARIOUS CATEGORIES. MOST OF US CAN IDENTIFY WITH LEFTOVERS IN THE FORM OF FOOD. WE PREPARE FOOD, WE EAT THE FOOD, AND OFTEN TIMES WE HAVE SOME LEFTOVER. WHILE SOME DESPISE LEFTOVERS, THERE ARE THOSE OF US WHO FEAST ON THEM FOR SEVERAL DAYS. WHILE SOME OF US DISCARD THE LEFTOVERS, OTHERS OF US THINK THAT IT IS A SCRUMCIOUS BANQUET FIT FOR A KING.

THERE IS A POSITIVE AND A NEGATIVE ASPECT OF LEFTOVERS THAT WE MUST COME TO UNDERSTAND. FIRST, LEFTOVERS NOT HANDLED WITH THE PROPER CARE CAN CAUSE ILLNESS. ON THE OTHER HAND, LEFTOVERS HAVE BEEN USED TO BLESS COUNTLESS THOUSANDS TIME AND TIME AGAIN.

AS I ROLL BACK THE TABLETS OF MY MIND AND SHARE WITH YOU THAT I WAS A FOOD SERVICE SPECIALIST IN THE UNITED STATES ARMY, THAT’S JUST A DRESSED UP WORD FOR A COOK. AND WHENEVER WE WOULD HAVE SOME FOOD LEFT OVER FROM ONE MEAL, WE WOULD TAKE THAT SAME PRODUCT, ADD OTHER INGREDIENTS TO IT AND MAKE IT INTO SOMETHING ELSE. WELL, AS THE HOLY GHOST ILLUMINATED MY MIND, THERE WAS A KNOCK ON THE DOOR OF MY IMAGINATION. IT WAS THE HOLY GHOST IN ALL OF HIS GLORY. AND HE SAID UNTO ME. PHILLIP, PEOPLE AND LEFTOVERS HAVE A LOT IN COMMON. NOTICE THAT THOSE WHO HAVE BEEN USED BY THE WORLD AND THE DEVIL, GOD TAKES THAT SAME PRODUCT, ADDS HIS INGREDIENTS OF GRACE AND MERCY, AND MAKES IT INTO SOMETHING BRAND NEW. MY BROTHERS AND MY SISTERS, I TELL YOU THAT THERE IS A MIRACLE IN LEFTOVERS.

II. THE TEXTS

IN OUR FIRST PASSAGE OF SCRIPTURE, JESUS IS DEALING WITH A HUNGRY MULTITUDE OF APPROXIMATELY 4,000 MEN. HE TAKES SEVEN LOAVES OF BREAD AND A FEW FISH, AND DOES THAT WHICH SEEMS IMPOSSIBLE. BUT I MUST REMIND US TODAY THAT, LITTLE BECOMES MUCH WHEN YOU PLACE IT IN THE HANDS OF THE MASTER. YES, A LITTLE MONEY IS STRECTHED WHEN YOU GIVE IT TO JESUS. LITTLE FAITH IS STRECHED WHEN YOU GIVE IT TO JESUS. LITTLE FOOD IS STRECHED WHEN YOU GIVE IT TO JESUS. AND AFTER HE HAD FED THIS MAGNANIMOUS MULTITUDE, THEY TOOK UP SEVEN BASKETS OF LEFTOVERS.

IN OUR SECOND PASSAGE, PAUL TALKS ABOUT THE BEFORE AND AFTER PROCESS OF A MAN WHO COMES TO JESUS. WE HAVE BEEN BEATEN UP BY SATAN. WE HAVE BEEN USED AND DISCARDED BY SATAN. BUT WHEN WE COME TO THE LORD, HE TAKES THAT WHICH SATAN HAS LEFT, AND TRANSFORMS US INTO A NEW CREATURE. PLACES THAT WE USED TO GO, WE DON’T GO ANYMORE. THINGS WE USED TO DO, WE DON’T DO ANYMORE. THINGS THAT WE USED TO SAY, WE DON’T SAY ANYMORE. YES, MY BROTHERS AND MY SISTERS, THERE IS A REAL MIRACLE IN LEFTOVERS.

I KNOW WHAT SOME OF YOU MIGHT SITTING THERE THINGKING. REV. HOW DOES THAT APPLY TO ME? I’M SAVED SANCTIFIED, FIRE BAPTIZED, AND FILLED WITH THE HOLY GHOST. THAT MIGHT BE TRUE, BUT YOU WERE NOT BORN THAT WAY. BEFORE WE GOT SAVED, WE WERE JUST LEFTOVER JUNK. BUT, PRAISE GOD FOR HIS GRACE THAT HE TOOK OUR LEFTOVER HATE AND TURNED IT INTO HOPE. HE TOOK OUR LEFTOVER LUST AND TURNED IT INTO LOVE. HE TAKES OUR LEFTOVER PROBLEMS AND TURNS THEM INTO PRAISE. HE TOOK OUR LEFTOVER SIN AND TURNED IT INTO SALVATION. THAT’S WHY WE CAN SING THE SONG, "AMAZING GRACE, HOW SWEET THE SOUND, THAT SAVED A WRETCH LIKE ME. I ONCE WAS LOST, BUT NOW I’M FOUND, BLIND BUT NOW I SEE."


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